The Best Skyrim Mods That Actually Add Gameplay

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim remains a milestone game more than five years after its initial release. And since it doesn’t look like we’re getting another entry in Bethesda’s RPG series for a while longer (no, Elder Scrolls Online doesn’t count), even the most dedicated Skyrim player might be looking for ways to get some new life out of the original game.

How to (Possibly) Save a Laptop from Water Damage

It’s every laptop owner’s nightmare: a carelessly spilled cup of coffee. A sudden shower when you’re working outside. Heaven forbid, some kind of farcical bathroom tumble when you really had to get that TPS report in. Conventional wisdom says that a soaked laptop is a dead laptop, but that doesn’t necessarily have to be true, especially if you have a few tools and a lot of patience.

How to Switch Windows Sound Outputs With a Hotkey

Windows is great at a lot of things. Handling its sound devices is not one of them. Despite the fact that most desktop PCs come with multiple sound output options (standard stereo, surround, front and rear, and so on), it’s still a pain to actually switch between them. Let’s see if we can change that.

How to Set Up and Customize the Steam Controller

Valve’s self-branded Steam Controller might just be the most exciting thing to emerge in video game inputs in a decade…but that doesn’t mean it’s intuitive to set up. Just as the double-touchpad design takes some getting used to, its software needs some serious tweaking by the end user.

10 Alternatives to Steam for Buying Cheap PC Games

When it comes to digital distribution for PC games, Steam is the undisputed champion, serving up approximately 2.4 billion total game sales as of March 2017. But just because it currently has a lead in the market doesn’t mean you need to curtail your choices for digital game purchases. Here are 10 alternatives to Steam for PC gamers, some of which offer Steam compatibility, and which often beat it on price as well.

How to Use Fraps to Record Footage of Your PC Games

Fraps is best known as an easy and lightweight way to see an active readout of your PC games’ frames per second—that’s where the name comes from. But it’s also a surprisingly flexible way to record game footage for posting to YouTube, Twitch, and other web video services. The relatively low resource usage and easy activation make it ideal for quickly starting and stopping the record function. Here’s how it’s done.

The Pros and Cons of Building a Mini-ITX Gaming PC

In the immortal words of Jacobim Mugatu, mini-ITX gaming PCs are “so hot right now.” While home-assembled gaming computers have generally been focused on the larger mid-tower ATX standard for decades, a recent wellspring of tiny, powerful components have made more compact builds worth considering.

Where Can You Find 4K Video for Your 4K TV?

If you’ve spent the extra money for a 4K TV, monitor, or laptop, you’d probably like to have something to watch on it. Unfortunately, several years after the first sets came to the market, we’re still severely lacking in actual sources for ultra-high-def video content. Options are limited: as of early 2017, here are the online and pay TV services that offer 4K content.

Are Razer’s zSilver Gaming Rewards Worth It?

Razer recently announced a new customer loyalty program: PC gamers can earn virtual currency, called “zSilver” and saved in a “zVault,” just for playing the games that they’re already enjoying. Games are launched from Razer’s Cortex desktop program—a bit like Steam without the built-in game store—and tracked minute-by-minute, earning zSilver that can be exchanged for Razer-branded hardware goodies.

Which Version of Chrome Do I Have?

Chrome is Chrome, right? You download Google’s browser—now the most popular in the world—and you’d think you have the same experience as everyone else. But like most large software vendors, Google releases Chrome in differing “channels,” testing out features in more unstable versions before they get to the release build that hundreds of millions of people use every day.

What’s the Difference Between Notepad and WordPad in Windows?

If you’ve been trained on Microsoft Word since you started using a computer, maybe you’ve never looked at those other writing options in Windows. Notepad and WordPad are both developed by Microsoft itself, and included in every copy of Windows. Don’t dismiss them out of hand—while neither are as powerful as paid software in the same niches, they might just do for you.

Why Are My PC Speakers and Headphones Making Weird Noises?

If you’re using a desktop PC, you might have heard odd noises coming from your speakers or headphones at times. It may sound like a buzzing or whining when doing basic tasks, sometimes escalating with more intense use like games or streaming movies. To solve the problem, you’ll need to figure out what’s causing it.

How to Choose the Right Gaming Mouse

You don’t need a gaming mouse to play PC games—just about any mouse with two buttons and a wheel will play anything you want it to. But that’s no reason to deny yourself the wonderful variety of gaming mouse designs on the market. A gaming mouse won’t make you a pro, but it can give you a slight competitive advantage and make some games much more comfy and convenient to play.

What Is Coil Whine, and Can I Get Rid of It on My PC?

Modern PCs are ridiculously powerful, so creature comforts like low noise levels have become more important. Most noise comes from your cooling fans, spinning drives, and optical drives (if you still have one), though there’s one other lesser-known noise source: a phenomenon called “coil whine.” It’s a high-pitched electronic squeaking or scratching noise, and it’s really annoying.